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TIMELINE: Who is Yahya Jammeh?

TIMELINE: Who is Yahya Jammeh?

by Joseph Barker / Liz Mermin / Valeria Cardi | @vlr_crd | Thomson Reuters Foundation

Yahya Jammeh took power in a coup in 1994 to become only the second president of Gambia since independence from Britain in 1965.

Since then, Jammeh has mixed charm and generosity with the threat of violence to maintain a firm grip on power, and his government has gained a reputation among ordinary Gambians and human rights activists for torturing and killing opponents.

Jammeh's quirkier traits, such as his strong belief in supernatural powers and claims to have a herbal cure for HIV, often made international headlines.